Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) are seen as distinct categories under the umbrella of extended reality (XR). Jumping forward (perhaps decades), reality could be seen on a spectrum.
On one end of the spectrum, you have meatspace. Our physical world. On the other end, you have the metaverse at its highest setting – complete virtual reality. The middle of the scale has different degrees of what we call mixed reality.
Public perspective might shift from seeing extended reality as fake and more as simply an extension of meatspace. MR in your environment will be ubiquitous. An internet that surrounds you.
In the morning, you might have your reality slider closer to meatspace. You have some AR features on your smart glasses turned on that display certain information like the time or your schedule for the day, but for the most part your environment is untouched by digital overlays.
Late morning to early afternoon you’ll probably have your reality slider closer to the middle. With MR, virtual objects interact with real world objects. You have your physical desk displaying a virtual laptop and virtual displays. Your window which normally just overlooks the bricks of the building next to you now displays a beautiful virtual meadow. Your meetings also happen at home, with your coworker’s avatars appearing around your desk to talk.
At home in the evening, you might go to the far end of the spectrum to be fully immersed in the metaverse. There, you can attend virtual concerts or hang out at your buddy’s virtual home.
When you’re outside, MR will help you find where you’re going with virtual arrows popping up in your physical environment. Ratings and comments from yelp will appear beside the restaurants you pass by. Bus stops will have floating bus estimated arrival times. People who have turned off privacy settings will have their names displayed above them.
The metaverse will really be an internet that surrounds you, in both mixed reality and virtual reality. Some people will undoubtedly spend far too much time in the fully immersive side of the Metaverse. Only exiting the metaverse to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. For these individuals, downtime will be the worst.
Most people will spend most of their time with their reality sliders on mixed reality. The Metaverse will mostly serve to enhance our daily lives in the physical world.
All loose predictions here. I’m not a time traveler.